I tried running. And I tried hiding. But I couldn’t escape the FOMO that hit me hard with every text, tweet, IG post, and social share from Bears fans in Las Vegas over the weekend.
On the one hand, I’m happy for everyone who got a chance to go. After not having fans in stands last year, getting out to a destination game and watching them win had to be good for the soul. But on the other hand, I miss Vegas so much. And I enjoy in-person football with friends so much. So witnessing it all from thousands of miles away stings. Surely, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.
But perhaps I can provide some consolation. Because maybe — just maybe — the Bears will have a stadium of their own like the one the Raiders built out in Vegas. And then Bears fans wouldn’t have to travel to someone else’s brand-spankin’-new facility to dream on what could be.
The Bears were on the road on Sunday, but it’s really easy to imagine what it would be like if this place was host to 8-9 regular-season games (and some postseason contests, too):
Bears fans here are loud, man.
— Tashan Reed (@tashanreed) October 10, 2021
— /r/CHIBears – Reddit.com (@bearsreddit) October 10, 2021
Shout out to all the fans that made it to the game. Y’all made it unbelievable VIVA CHI-VEGAS!!!! #BearDown
— Tarik Cohen (@TarikCohen) October 11, 2021
Bears fans loudest opposing crowd in Vegas thus far. Big roars for two first downs.
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 10, 2021
HELLLLAAAA Bears fans here. But this gotta be the #1 travel-to stadium now, no?
“Let’s go Bears” chants pic.twitter.com/rFgwzrncpe
— Rev. Eric Dunn (@ericvdunn) October 10, 2021
Nagy on fans showing up to Las Vegas: "It gives you chills coming off the field. They were a huge part of this win today. It was impactful. It's a beautiful win for everybody." #Bears
— Usayd Koshul (@usaydkoshul) October 11, 2021
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 11, 2021
Make no mistake about it. Bears fans are making this loud
— jason fitz (@jasonfitz) October 10, 2021
Play hard, win big. pic.twitter.com/fFozPuxpep
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 12, 2021
All right, you get the idea by now.
But where does one put such a stadium?
The obvious answer is in Arlington Heights, where the Bears just bought the Arlington International Racecourse property. And even then, it won’t be easy.
The Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout reports Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes says tax breaks for the team and public financing for a stadium are a “last resort” when it comes to enticing the team to leave the city for the suburbs.
Meanwhile Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot hopes to keep the Bears from leaving, telling 670 The Score: “I’m the mayor of the city, I’m a Bears fan of longstanding, I’m going to try to keep the Bears in Chicago.” Try as she might, Mayor Lightfoot might struggle to do so because of Soldier Fields’ limitations and lack of space to build the type of stadium the Bears likely want to build. Let’s face it. Early season trips to So-Fi Stadium and Allegiant Stadium should have Chicago’s football team dreaming the biggest dreams in terms of new home digs.
In other words, Lightfoot is at risk of being a big-city mayor who loses a charter NFL franchise to a suburb. Ouch. That’ll sting if it plays out in this way.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but think about having a shiny new toy after the weekend’s festivities. And even though it’ll be a while until the Bears cross that bridge into a new stadium, I doubt this is the last we’ll be discussing these matters.